How Australia is Increasing its International Student Population

How Australia is increasing its international student population

I will predict that when international student numbers are reported in the fall, Australia, along with Canada, will realize a substantial increase in international student numbers. With regard to Australia, there are many reasons for this.

Last year, according to the Australian Department of Education and Training, Australia’s international student population was 554,179, an increase of 11 percent. This is not a single year phenomena. The average annual growth rate has been 10.5 percent since 2013.

Asia dominates international student enrollments in Australia. Three in four international students come from Asia. China especially dominates international student numbers. More than 156,000 students from China studied in Australia in 2016.

What are some of the reasons for this growth? First, Australian universities enjoy a worldwide reputation for excellence. Second, the Minister for Education and Training reported that the most recent International Student Survey revealed that 89 percent of international higher education students reported being satisfied or very satisfied with their educational experience in Australia.

Third, personal safety and security is another reason for an increase in international student enrollment in Australia.

Fourth, the Australian government, in my opinion, has made wise policy decisions which have supported international student recruitment and enrollment. International education is the third largest export for Australia generating more than A$21 billion in annual revenue in 2016.

Australia’ first National Strategy for International Education has nine goals to enhance Australian international education, including a focus on student experience as well as education quality. The country, not just individual schools, are marketed as a desirable international student destination.

The government has also introduced work opportunities both during enrollment and after graduation. Students can work up to 40 hours over two weeks during the school term and for unlimited hours in term breaks. Also, eligible students can work up to four years after graduation.  This has been especially important for students from specific countries. Brazilian students, for example, faced with economic difficulties at home, have increasingly enrolled in increasing numbers in Australia. Last year the number of Brazilian enrollments in Australia increased by 20 percent.

These measures by the Australian government come at a time when many countries appear less welcoming to international students.

A combination of an excellent educational system combined with wise government policies supporting international student recruitment and enrollment, are responsible for the huge success in Australia. The rest of the world has a great deal to learn from our colleagues, down under.

If you want to learn more about Australian educational policies and trends, I suggest you read Louise Hargreaves’ Higher Education Morning Update. Louise’s email address is:

P.S. Shortly after writing this blog, I received an invitation to study in Australia with the promise that I would receive a response in 48 hours!


This entry was posted in Colleges, International Education, International students, The New College Guide, Universities by Marguerite Dennis. Bookmark the permalink.

About Marguerite Dennis

Marguerite Dennis has been recruiting internationally for over 25 years, first at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. and then at Suffolk University in Boston, Massachusetts. During that time she was responsible for establishing a branch campus for Suffolk University in Dakar, Senegal and Madrid, Spain. Marguerite increased the international student population at Suffolk University by 193% from 1993 to 2011 and increased the number of study abroad programs by 135%, from 20 to 47. She monitored the recruitment programs for Suffolk University in 20 countries and hired a network of 10 international educational consultants. She signed agreements in Viet Nam, Hong Kong, Kuwait, Germany, Mexico, France and Argentina.

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